With two days remaining before their big showdown with the Bears, the Jets wrapped up their practice week on Friday. Aside from the red zone and other on field issues, head coach Eric Mangini discussed another part of the team’s Friday preparations that had thus far been unknown.
Every Friday, the players have player-only meeting with their positions. The guys will discuss what to do in different situations and which guys to watch for on the opponent’s squad. If one of the Jets has had particular success, they often speak at length about what they have been doing to help teach the other guys how they can improve their own game. Veterans are particularly vital in these meetings because of their wisdom and Mangini said guard Pete Kendall has been indispensable in the offensive line player meetings.
“At some point it could be assistant coach Pete Kendall,” Mangini said of the 11-year vet. “He definitely has a level of understanding deeper than most offensive linemen.”
Mangini said some of the more intelligent veterans like linebacker Matt Chatham raise the bar for other guys in the meetings. No one likes to look like a fool so everyone tries to study and prepare for these meetings as much as possible so they are well informed. Still, some players have admitted they get the butterflies before addressing their teammates.
“No one wants to be the guy that mispronounces a word or a name and everyone kind of gets on them for it,” Mangini said. “It’s all good-natured, but you’d still like to avoid it whenever possible.”
Mangini enjoys the competitive nature of most of his players. He wants them to work to be the best prepared for meetings and the Saturday night game plan tests they take because he knows that all helps lead to victories on Sunday. As the head coach himself put it: “Knowledge is power.”
The rookie head coach spoke about the competitive nature of defensive linemen Shaun Ellis, Dewayne Robertson, and Bryan Thomas today. He said that in order to become number one picks, as they all were, the three had to be intrinsically motivated as well as physically gifted. He does not seem to mind the strength of the three big guys either.
“They’re all unique. Bryan is big and very strong at the point of attack but also has unusual speed,” Mangini said. “Dewayne does a great job of getting into the backfield and pursuing the ball like he did on that 2nd and inches play on the goal line last week. And Shaun is just so athletically gifted and he can really impose his will on you. That’s what you saw on the last play last week.”
If the Jets defensive front can impose its will against Chicago this weekend, they could create a ton of Rex Grossman mistakes that could ultimately lead to yet another big upset by Gang Green.
-Ohio State and Michigan alum in the locker room are starting to really get psyched up for Saturday’s big showdown in Columbus. Players from both sides seem sure their alma mater will take care of business and have put their money, or the hair, where their mouth is.
“Me and B.J. (Askew) are betting are hair on this game,” rookie linebacker Anthony Schlegel said of the strangest wager in the locker room. “The loser has to get it cut. It doesn’t have to be bald or anything just down to a normal length.”
Other players with wagers include center Nick Mangold, linebacker Victor Hobson, and kicker Mike Nugent. Their bets are not as bizarre however, most involve something along the line of wearing the winner’s college jersey around the locker room.
-Mangini praised the progress his fullback, B.J. Askew, has made in his Friday presser. He said the four year vet has become a better, more rounded fullback and that he was a terrific contributer on special teams, something Mangini feels has been over looked.
-Mangini wanted to remind fans that this weekend the Jets will be holding a non-perishable food drive at Giants Stadium. The Jets have done this for the last 15 years and fans can drop off their donation at any stadium gate.
“In the past we’ve had as much as 5,000 pounds in donations,” Mangini said of the food drive, which he feels is very important with Thanksgiving coming up. “Just like everything else, we’re looking for progress there as well.”
-CB Dante Wesley (Knee): Doubtful
-WR Bernard Berrian (Ribs): Questionable
-LB Leon Joe (Hamstring): Questionable
-TE Gabriel Reid (Wrist): Questionable
New York Jets
-FB B.J. Askew (Foot): Questionable
-CB David Barrett (Hip): Questionable
-WR Tim Dwight (Thigh): Questionable
-RB Cedric Houston (Knee): Questionable
-RB Kevan Barlow (Calf): Probable
-LB Matt Chatham (Foot): Probable
-CB Drew Coleman (Thigh): Probable
-WR Laveranues Coles (Calf): Probable
-CB Andre Dyson (Ankle): Probable
-OL Pete Kendall (Thigh): Probable
-OL Nick Mangold (Eye): Probable
-WR Justin McCareins (Foot): Probable
-DL Rashad Moore (Hand): Probable
-QB Chad Pennington (Calf): Probable
-QB Patrick Ramsey (Thigh): Probable
Be sure to check out the JI Jets – Bears Preview on the front page and also a complete recap following the game on Sunday!